"Active settlement in this township commenced in 1852.
The first settler in the township is said to have been a
bachelor named James Austin, who probably built a cabin on
Section 11, in 1849, but sold his claim to Baldwin Kirkpatrick
at an early day.
The first birth in the township was that of Mary Johnson, in
1851; and the first marriage, in February, 1852, was that of
Miles Lewis and Mary Finch.
In 1852, the township was organized with a voting population of
9. The name Eden was bestowed upon it, probably, from the
resemblance it was supposed by the old settlers to bear to the
ancient paradise on the Euphrates.
Prior to the date of its organization, Eden was a part of
Auburn Township. The first school taught in the township was in
the Spring of 1854, by Hannah Tiff, in a private house. Later in
that year, a log school house was built on Section 24, and the
first teacher therein was Miss Murray.
It is supposed that the first religious services were held by
Rev. S. D. Helms, in the houses of settlers, previous to the
building of any school house or houses of a public nature.
A Catholic church was built near the northern line in 1857,
and was probably dedicated by Bishop Loras, of Dubuque, who at
that time held deeds to several tracts of land in the township.
In 1866 or 1867, Aaron Martin, while threshing for Mr. Wade,
was caught in the gearing while the machine was in motion. He
was whirled round and his back broken, from the effects of which
he died in about two weeks.
A son of James Murphy was drowned just below the mill at
Waucoma, about 1868.
The South Branch of the Turkey River flows through the
township in a southeasterly direction, and Crane Creek touches
some part of in the south. There is a moderate supply of timber
along these streams, though it is not heavy in many places.
The land on which this town is located was entered by J. P.
Webster, in 1854. The town was laid out by Webster.
The first house on the town plat was built by Baldwin
Kirkpatrick, in 1855; is still standing and is called the Empire
House. The oldest settlers now living in the village are Mr. and
Mrs. J. Southerland, who came in 1855. The first child born in
the town was Milo Kirkpatrick. In 1855, Ed. Page and Phebe
Whetstone were married.
Waucoma is the principal village in this township. It is
situated on the west bank of the Little Turkey, and has a most
beautiful location. The vicinity is a level prairie, diversified
with groves. The bluffs of the Turkey disappear some distance
below this place. This village has a good flouring-mill, several
stores and mechanics' shops, and contains two or three hundred
inhabitants. The stream is spanned by a graceful iron bridge
above the mill-dam.
The grade of the Davenport & Northwestern Railway passes
through the town, and when the iron is laid Waucoma will become
a town of considerable importance.
Its Churches and Societies
The Congregational Church was organized in 1874, and held its
meetings in the school house. The first Pastor was Rev. A. V.
House. In the Winter of 1875-6, the society built a church,
32x44, at a cost of $2,500, which was dedicated January 6, 1876,
by Rev. E. Adams. The Deacons were Alexander Clyde and William
Murray. The Sunday school is a Union Sunday School, under charge
of E. B. Stillman.
United Brethren - In 1874, Rev. Mr. Drury and son held
revival meetings in Waucoma; and, as the result, a society was
organized, being supplied every two weeks by Rev. Mr. Drury, of
West Union. At present, they are holding meetings in the
Congregational Church, through the kindness of the
The Methodists have no organized society; but at one time
held services, conducted by Rev. Mr. Richardson.
Waucoma Lodge, No. 303, I. O. of O. F., was organized January
14, 1875, by D. D. G. M. Davis, with the following charter
members: A. A. Boylan, J. P. Webster, Elisha Fitch, D. G. West,
S. H. Stein, D. P. Moody. The following are the officers first
elected; J. P. Webster, N. G.; A. A. Boylan, V. G.; S. H. Stein,
S.; D. P. Moody, T.
Standard Lodge, No. 351, A., F. & A. M., was
instituted in 1875, with the following acting as officers, under
the dispensation: A. P. Fowler, W. M.; W. E. Bender, S. W.;
Linus Fox, J. W.; James Miller, Treas.; Henry Felker, Sec.; R.
Patterson, S. D.; William Mill, J. D.; John Lawrence, Tiler. The
remaining charter members were O. B. Dodd and Voltaire Johnson.
The Lodge was chartered in June, 1876, and duly constituted.
This organization has grown quite rapidly, the
following having become members so far: J. M. Burnside, H.
Anderson, J. C. McFarland, G. C. Luce, George Bell, Thomas
Cochrane, Myron Chase, Frank Johnson, Scott Brown, Stephen
Brown, C. C. Dykens.
This little hamlet is situated on Section 24, three miles
southeast of Waucoma. A saw-mill was built here by Mr. Stone, in
1856. The Patrons of Husbandry have a general store at this
place, managed by a joint stock company.
This village has not met the expectations of its founders,
for it has not gained in population or business since 1857.
This is another little village, located on Section 32, and
also known as Johnson's Mill. The mill is located on the north
bank of Crane Creek, and was built in 1869. The patent-middlings
process is used in this mill. The other business at alpha
includes a general store and a blacksmith shop.
The old bridge across the creek is soon to be replaced by a
new structure, abutments for which are now being laid.
There is a Union Sabbath School at Alpha. A. M. Barber,